What makes this especially annoying is that it's a pattern I've wanted to make for a while. I've seen lots of great versions of it, such as this one by Kaitlyn of Simply Vintage. Esther of Dolly Creates loves it so much that she's made it five times! So when I found a poly charmeuse with a suitably retro floral print, it seemed like the perfect reason to step away from the craft cottons and try something different.
I made my standard bodice length alterations, which had worked perfectly on Simplicity 1777, and lengthened the skirt. Because the fabric was 150cm / 54" wide, I cut the skirt back as a single piece rather than have a centre back seam (the dress has a side opening). I forgot to make any alterations for shoulder pads, but I've noticed that a lot of my 1950s patterns have optional shoulder pads and no alterations to accommodate them, so decided that this wouldn't matter.
The front yoke has three pleats in each side, and getting them remotely symmetrical was a challenge. It didn't help that the fabric wasn't on the straight grain, an no amount of washing, stretching and pressing would fix this.
|The pleats in progress|
The bodice front and back are made up and joined at the shoulders, the skirt front and back are attached to their respective yokes, and then the bodice and skirts are put together. As with Simplicity 1777, I top-stitched the yokes in place, rather than use the modern method of placing right sides together, matching the raw edges and sewing the seam. This may not have helped.
The instructions are to sew the side seams and then set in the sleeves, but I decided to attach the sleeves first.
|All made up apart from the side seams and zip|
At this point, it wasn't looking promising. I hoped that it was one of those dresses which looks like a limp rag on the hanger, but fabulous when worn. So I sewed up the sides and tried it on - and it still looked like a limp rag. The front yoke lies weirdly and the pleats stick out, possibly due to the off-grain problem. There seem to be gathers in all sorts of odd and unflattering places, and the skirt yoke looks dreadful. The skirt is quite full, so there's a lot of hem, and I was tempted not to even bother. I did hem it in the end, but I can't say that I bothered too much about getting it level.
All in all it is so bad that I almost didn’t photograph the end result. Then I remembered the various discussions I've read in posts and forums over the years about the false image we all give online by only showing our successes and not our failures. So here it is in all its, ahem, 'glory'.
|This is the best shot - it's downhill from here!|
I think that part of the problem is that the bodice yoke should be shorter; the join to the main bodice is too low, which makes the gathered sections look peculiar.
|All sorts of unflattering things going on round the bust!|
Even though I lengthened the skirt pieces, there was still only enough fabric for a tiny hem.
|There is so much wrong here, I can't even begin to say|
Part of me really wants to redraft this and Get It Right, but part of me feels that life's too short. It's definitely one just to wear around the house. Ah well.